Our First Egg!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Our First Video~

We uploaded our first video, and although it WAS HD quality, Blogger converted it to a low-pixel mess. Sigh. At least you can see how cute the kits are, under Winchester and Pumpkin's First Litter page >>> to right.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Upcycling Old Mattresses & Box Springs

When we decided to paint our house and remove/redo the front garden path, we also had an old box spring sitting around from our outdoor bed. Yes, we have an outdoor double bed on a shaded & covered deck, complete with fan. It's a must, really!

We didn't want to pay to dump it at the time, so I decided to experiment & I stripped it apart. It was/is a really old box spring, from the time when they actually contained springs! We stripped the cloth cover off, detached the wooded slatted platform (and left on the double bed as the new box spring of sorts), and removed the connected inner springs. Then we spray painted the inner springs yellow, along with another part that I am fairly vague about what to call. It is sort of a wire trellis sheet thingee.

We hung the new trellises the south-facing wall of our house in the sun. It gets HOT along this wall, and I planted some grape vines along it. The inner spring mattress-turned trellis-gets the leaves & grapes off the wall some, allowing them more space to grow & support. It allows them to not fry in summer. The grape vines will eventually alleviate all the glare from the wall off the other plants below, allowing them not to fry as well. When fully "in leaf" the vines did their job last year, and the plants in the bed below grew HUGE!

We have an experiment next to the inner spring trellis, in which I wired my own trellis (created with wire & hooks) right next to the siding. The grape vine there is significantly smaller in size this year, but was not when it was planted last year. I think the grapes like the additional air space between the wall & plant that the inner spring trellis provides. As you can see, we had no problems with the heat from the wall scorching our plants. You can see the trellis to the right along the wall (more pics soon). In fact, we had to beat a path to the front door at times....

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Growing Citrus in High Desert & Permaculture Remodel of Side Yard

Side Yard Project:
I have been interested in permaculture for a couple years now, and the permaculture methods of soil building, plant companions, and water-scaping drive my every move in my garden. Water-scaping in permaculture seeks to add more moisture into the ground from rain/snow, and involves several techniques to get the water into your soil for storage.

One method of water storage we will be investigating in the coming week is swales. Swales are small trenches made in just the right spot to divert run-off from your sprinklers, rain storms, snow melt, etc. into the ground, and not into your neighbors yard or into the storm drains. We have a side yard that we are building into a raised bed, using some free HUGE cottonwood half-rounds as a retaining wall, and will start project by building swales under the raised bed to make sure water is stored so we can use less drip-system irrigation.

We will cut our sprinkler system off to the side yard zone, and install a washing-machine grey water recycling box that will do the irrigation for us as we wash our clothes. The side yard will be planted with fruit trees & associated forest-garden rings, and vegetables.

Citrus Tree:
We have a small improved Meyer lemon citrus tree that produced about 7-9 lemons for us last year. It is about 1 ft tall x 1ft wide. This year, we hope to get at least that much from our little tree. How do you grow lemons in the high desert? Well, glad you asked!

We repotted our lemon tree into a felt barrel, about 2ftx2ftx2ft in dimensions. We planted it with soil-less potting mix, per the felt barrel instructions. We mixed in lots of rabbit fertilizer, dried leaves, and humus. We put in a little fruit fertilizer & soil biotics as well to get it started growing again quick fast. Then, we positioned the barrel near our outdoor fountain in mostly sun. We planted beans to spill over the sides, as well as a few annuals.

The citrus barrel is positioned next to the house and fountain because they both insulate the citrus from occasional temps below 40' a this time a year. The evaporation off the fountain will also make the citrus grow better in the high desert.

Citrus does best if the temps do not fall below 40' at night, and will die if frozen. We over-winter indoors next to the slider.